Public Speaking - Like.. Y’know


I was rubbed the wrong way today - listening to a podcast.

This is a podcast that I hold in high regard, the hosts are people I have had multiple conversations with over the years and they are well renowned and public speakers.

Like y'know

This is a problem with society as a whole so I will not name the podcast as to not single them out - but I will use them as an example.

The podcast was about a certain configuration management product and what they are doing in the cloud space.

The total running time of the podcast 32:00

I collected some metrics from the episode.

Host spoke 09:08 (9 minutes and eight seconds).
During that time the host used the word “Like” 36 times and the word “y’know” 36 times

Guest spoke 22:52 (22 minutes and 52 seconds)
During that time the guest used the word “Like” 64 times and the word “y’know” 153 times

Assuming that for occurrence it takes approximately 1 second - that totals to 489 seconds of worthless content of the episode (15% of the duration of the episode was wasted these words)

I grew up in South Africa so I am accustomed to the Queens English - and therefore use the Oxford dictionary as my source of truth.

This is the Oxford Dictionary definition of like (and I would like to emphasize this entry)


1 informal Used in speech as a meaningless filler or to signify the speaker's uncertainty about an expression just used.
‘there was this funny smell—sort of dusty like’

2 informal Used to convey a person's reported attitude or feelings in the form of direct speech (whether or not representing an actual quotation)
‘so she comes into the room and she's like ‘Where is everybody?’’

3 (like as/to) archaic In the manner of.
‘like as a ship with dreadful storm long tossed’

This is the Oxford Dictionary definition of you know


1 Used to indicate that what is being referred to is known to or understood by the listener.
‘when in Rome, you know’
1.1 Used as a filler in conversation.
‘oh well, you know, I was wondering if you had any jobs for me’

Some of our generation (and almost certainly our kids generation) has forgotten how to speak - I know this is the case in English - and unfortunately - this has become a norm in Hebrew as well.

If you want people to take you seriously - then speak proper English. It does not make a difference if it on  podcast, at a presentation or even a customer call.

When was the last time you heard Steve Jobs, Donald Trump or Queen Elizabeth use “like, y’know”?

Every time you use these as filler words, a kitten dies, a unicorn loses some of its color, and we all become the slightest bit more and more stupid.

If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t. If you need to collect your thoughts - then do so - in silence. I promise you, no one will think any less of you - quite the contrary.